Tinian monarch

Tinian monarch
Monarcha takatsukasae

Photo by Desmond Allen (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Tinian monarch (en); monarca-de-Tinian (pt); monarque de Tinian (fr); monarca de Tinian (es); Tinianmonarch (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Monarchidae

This species is endemic to the island of Tinian in the Northern Mariana Islands.

These birds are 15 cm long.

The Tinian monarch is mostly found in limestone forests, but uses all forests available on Tinian, including secondary forests and introduced tangan-tangan Leucaena leucoephala thickets.

They are mainly insectivorous, gleaning invertebrates such as moths, butterflies, ants, caterpillars, and several long legged insects from leaves and bark. They are also known to occasionally eat small lizards.

Tinian monarchs can breed all year round, but with seasonal peaks related with rainfall levels. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of an open cup made of dry Casuarina  needles, dry leaves, grasses, vine tendrils, spider webs, and lined with feathers. It is placed at the base of a vertical branch, up to 2 m above the ground. The female lays 1-3 white eggs with reddish-brown spots, which are incubated by both parents for 15 days. The chicks fledge about 13 days after hatching, but continue to receive food from the parents for another 8 weeks.

IUCN status – VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a small breeding range and a global population estimated at 20.000-50.000 individuals. Following declines in the first half of the 20th century caused by deforestation, the population is now believed to be stable. However, declines of up to 50% are projected in the likely event of the brown tree-snake Boiga irregularis becoming established on Tinian. Other threats include typhoons, forests fires, forest clearance for cattle farming, military activities and tourism, and avian diseases.

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